New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling

New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling
The World Bowling League will launch in 2024. (WBL)
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Updated 15 October 2023
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New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling

New global league aiming to transform sport of ten-pin bowling
  • UAE-based entrepreneur Adi K. Mishra will launch World Bowling League in 2024 in partnership with International Bowling Federation

Ten-pin bowling is set to be reimagined as an engaging commercial entity with the launch of the World Bowling League, according its founder, UAE-based entrepreneur, Adi K. Mishra.

Mishra, the chief executive of League Sports Co., believes that the project is vital for the future of the sport.

“Any sport that claims to have more than 150 million regular participants worldwide has enormous potential,” Mishra said. “Add a sprinkling of celebrity stardust, stunning competition locations and a focus on digital engagement, and League Sports Co. has the recipe to transform the popular pastime of ten-pin bowling into a commercially successful global juggernaut.”

League Sports Co. — under its previous name XTZ Esports Tech — announced last year that it had struck a deal that will run for up to 20 years with the International Bowling Federation to “drive innovation, growth and investment in the sport.”

Primarily, this will involve the launch in 2024 of the new league, which will aim to redefine the appeal of bowling through the WBL pro tour and WBL global calendars for fans and competitors alike, as well as broadcasters, sponsors, agencies and bookmakers.

For Mishra, it is an opportunity to introduce a unifying new structure to a sport that has already benefited from passionate professional, semi-professional and grassroots participants.

The WBL aims to expand the existing base and capture a mass audience through a pro tour and a “premier aspirational product” that has innovation at its core — from the competition locations to the lane designs, balls and scoring, Mishra said.

“At League Sports Co, we have been actively investing time and capital over the last 18 months to bring about much-needed change and updates across all aspects of the sport,” he said.

Held in standard bowling centers under traditional bowling rules, the WBL pro tour will feature a range of tournaments split into three tiers of competition: the challenger series, open series and top-tier masters.

Ranking points will range from 250 for winning a challenger series tournament to 1,000 for triumphing at a masters tournament. The consistency and flow of this calendar is designed to appeal to fans, sponsors and the media by introducing an understandable and consistent narrative to the sport.

“We are already in late-stage negotiations to bring disparate bowling events with significant tradition and history under a single umbrella and introduce the universal bowling performance index for global rankings,” said Mishra, who added that such structures have proved successful for the likes of the ATP Tour in men’s tennis.

The launch of WBL Global, meanwhile, represents what Mishra describes as an “aspirational product that bowling deserves” by elevating the sport to a mainstream stature while integrating cutting-edge technological solutions and elements of strategy such as reverse scoring, restricted throws and franchise teams to build a fan base.

The holding company, LSC, has shown its ability to work alongside athletes and celebrities, having launched a collaborative ownership of a new E1 racing team with Virat Kohli earlier this week.

WBL is similarly in late-stage discussions with high-profile names to become league-level investors.

WBL Global will feature between 12 and 15 events a year in iconic locations in the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, India, Singapore, South Korea and Japan, among other nations, with hopes of expanding the calendar in three to five years’ time. It is anticipated that between eight and 12 franchise teams will compete in season one, with each having a gender-balanced squad of between four and six competitors.

At least two people in each four-person WBL team will be female, helping to underline the equality at the heart of a sport that is age-agnostic and gender-neutral. It is thought that between 40 and 50 percent of bowling participants worldwide are female, according to data from the federation.

“I believe bowling as a sport with powerful stories, played by all age groups and all genders across the world for several decades, is at a pivotal moment, ready for evolution,” Mishra said. “At LSC, we are steering this change by removing barriers and unifying its fragmented ecosystem. We’re implementing tech-enhanced, robust point-based systems, such as the WBL UBPI player’s ranking and the tournament management system.”

The athletes themselves will benefit from financial incentives within the sport. Collective prize money across WBL properties will reach $3 million to $5 million in year one, with hopes of hitting $10 million in year two, depending on growth. With bowling already featuring at international and regional events such as the Pan American Games, Asian Games and the World Games, such investment is likely to provide a platform for further interest in the sport.

For Mishra and LSC, there is no shortage of ambition.

“In five years, I expect the WBL to transform bowling into a leading aspirational product for both athletes and viewers,” he said. “Athletes will be competing for significant prize money, elevating the sport’s commercial appeal and status. Financially, I anticipate the league to be highly profitable, backed by a global audience that spans multiple age groups and demographics. The commercial side will be robust, driven by sponsorships, merchandising and media rights, and we are in preliminary discussions with cities worldwide.”


SAB-UnionPay partnership to fuel Vision 2030 tourism drive

SAB-UnionPay partnership to fuel Vision 2030 tourism drive
Updated 7 min 54 sec ago
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SAB-UnionPay partnership to fuel Vision 2030 tourism drive

SAB-UnionPay partnership to fuel Vision 2030 tourism drive

Saudi Awwal Bank, a leading bank in Saudi Arabia, announced its strategic partnership with UnionPay International, a world-leading payment network. The partnership is a step toward enhancing the digital payment ecosystem in the Kingdom.

It marks a major milestone in increasing merchant UnionPay coverage and will empower SAB to enable digital acceptance of UPI payments across physical stores, ATMs, and e-commerce platforms.

Acceptance of UPI cards in the Kingdom will ease international tourists’ and pilgrims’ transactions using their cards on SAB POS and ATMs, followed by e-commerce later this year. This initiative aligns with the nation’s goal of fostering a robust digital infrastructure and driving economic growth by accelerating the transition toward a cashless society. 

Yasser Al-Barrak, chief corporate and institutional banking officer at SAB, said: “This collaboration reflects our commitment to providing innovative and effective payment solutions that will further modernize the Kingdom’s payment landscape which aligns with the aspirations of Saudi Vision 2030, and provide unparalleled convenience for everyone.” 

He added: “We believe that this partnership will have a positive impact on commerce and tourism between the Kingdom and China, support our plans to enhance the digital economy and provide a secure alternate payment method to cater to the evolving demand of our customers and achieve satisfaction and trust.”

James Yang, general manager of UnionPay International in the Middle East, said: “This partnership with SAB marks a significant milestone for UPI in the Kingdom. By enabling convenient and secure payments for travelers and local consumers, we are catering to individual needs and contributing to the Kingdom’s digital transformation journey.”

He added: “UPI is a global network with a regional focus. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to global expansion while remaining laser-focused on regional needs. UPI continues to expand its footprint with its 

network now reaching 183 countries and regions, including 15 in the Middle East.”

This step also signifies the bank’s aspirations to contribute to supporting the digital economy in the Kingdom and to offer innovative financial services that meet the expectations and needs of customers, reinforcing the Kingdom’s position as a leading financial center in the region.


Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157
Updated 25 min 30 sec ago
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Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

Closing Bell: Saudi main index closes in green at 12,157

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index rose on Wednesday, gaining 77.24 points, or 0.64 percent, to close at 12,157.61. 

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR7.37 billion ($1.96 billion) as 157 of the listed stocks advanced, while 64 retreated.    

The MSCI Tadawul Index increased by 6.82 points, or 0.45 percent, to close at 1,520.39. 

The Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu decreased by 31.22 points, or 0.12 percent, to close at 25,887.91. This comes as 36 of the listed stocks advanced, while as many as 32 retreated. 

The best-performing stock of the day was AYYAN Investment Co., with its share price surging by 9.97 percent to SR19.42. 

Other top performers include the Miahona Co. and Al Sagr Cooperative Insurance Co., whose share prices soared by 9.88 percent and 9.41 percent, to stand at SR42.25 and SR24.88, respectively. 

National Gas and Industrialization Co. and Al-Baha Investment and Development Co. were also amongst the top gainers.  

The worst performer was the Mediterranean and Gulf Insurance and Reinsurance Co. whose share price dropped by 2.46 percent to SR31.70. 

Other underperformers included Baazeem Trading Co. and Arabian Pipes Co., with their share prices declining by 1.53 percent to SR64.30 and 1.20 percent to SR131.40, respectively.

Saudi Public Transport Co. and Red Sea International Co. also experienced declines in their stock prices.

Value Capital Co., serving as the financial advisor and lead manager, announced that Tharwah Co. intends to offer 705,735 ordinary shares, representing 15 percent of its total shares post-offering. The company’s shares will be listed on Nomu. 

Tharwah Co.’s application for listing on the parallel market. was approved by the Saudi Exchange on May 19, and the Capital Market Authority approved the offering on June 3. The price per share for subscribers will be determined after the book-building period. The one-week offering period is scheduled to commence on Aug. 4. 

Alkhabeer Capital, a Shariah-compliant investment and financial services firm, has announced the listing and commencement of trading for the Alkhabeer Diversified Income Fund 2030 on the Saudi Exchange. 

In an official statement, the fund reported successful participation from a diverse group of investors, including individuals and institutions, during its initial public offering.  

The IPO concluded on June 13, attracting 144,132 subscribers and raising a total of SR305.4 million. 


Cyprus plans to build a major naval base to play a larger geopolitical role, says defense minister

An Open Arms ship and ship Jennifer, of the World Central Kitchen carrying food aid for the Gaza Strip, prepare to set sail.
An Open Arms ship and ship Jennifer, of the World Central Kitchen carrying food aid for the Gaza Strip, prepare to set sail.
Updated 39 min 10 sec ago
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Cyprus plans to build a major naval base to play a larger geopolitical role, says defense minister

An Open Arms ship and ship Jennifer, of the World Central Kitchen carrying food aid for the Gaza Strip, prepare to set sail.
  • Cyprus has in recent months been staging ground for collection and delivery of donated humanitarian aid to Gaza
  • Aid is being shipped from the Cypriot port of Larnaca to the Palestinian territory after being security screened

NICOSIA: Cyprus’ defense minister said Wednesday that plans are in motion to build a major naval base on the east Mediterranean island nation’s southern coast capable of hosting large ships from European Union countries and other nations to carry out a variety of missions including humanitarian aid deliveries to the tumultuous Middle East region.
Vasilis Palmas told reporters that Cyprus’ recently elevated geopolitical role as the European Union’s closest member to the Middle East warrants the building of infrastructure that can support policies geared toward the region.
Cyprus has in recent months been the staging ground for the collection and delivery of donated humanitarian aid to war-ravaged Gaza. The aid is being shipped from the Cypriot port of Larnaca to the Palestinian territory after being security screened. Last year, Cyprus served as a waystation for third-country nationals evacuated from Sudan.
Palmas said the construction of the base would “contribute decisively” to policy implementation in the region.
He said Greece is contributing technical know-how to the project, while actual construction will be guided by the findings of an expert study that will be completed in the next few days.
The naval base will be built on an existing naval installation some 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of the coastal town of Limassol, which in 2011 was the site of a huge explosion of 480 tons of seized Iranian gunpowder that killed 13 people, knocked out Cyprus’ main power station and stirred up a political crisis.


Training for budding nuclear engineers launched in Saudi Arabia

Training for budding nuclear engineers launched in Saudi Arabia
Updated 46 min 53 sec ago
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Training for budding nuclear engineers launched in Saudi Arabia

Training for budding nuclear engineers launched in Saudi Arabia
  • Eight-week program will be held partly in Saudi Arabia and later at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in South Korea

RIYADH: The Kingdom has launched a summer training program for aspiring nuclear engineers, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

The initiative, spearheaded by the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy and King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, targets undergraduate nuclear engineering students.

According to the SPA, the eight-week program will be held partly in Saudi Arabia and later at the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute in South Korea.

The curriculum includes lectures and practical experiments, in addition to visits to nuclear facilities and reactors in South Korea.

According to the SPA, the initiative is a part of the Kingdom’s plan to develop an educated workforce for its nuclear energy industry.


Al-Ittihad sign Algerian midfielder Houssem Aouar on a four-year contract

Karim Benzema welcomes Houssem Aouar to Al-Ittihad’s training camp in Alicante, Spain. (X/@ittihad_en)
Karim Benzema welcomes Houssem Aouar to Al-Ittihad’s training camp in Alicante, Spain. (X/@ittihad_en)
Updated 32 min 37 sec ago
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Al-Ittihad sign Algerian midfielder Houssem Aouar on a four-year contract

Karim Benzema welcomes Houssem Aouar to Al-Ittihad’s training camp in Alicante, Spain. (X/@ittihad_en)
  • Aouar joins from Roma, where he scored four goals in 16 appearances last season
  • Midfielder previously played for hometown club Lyon in France’s Ligue 1, scoring 30 goals in seven seasons

JEDDAH: Al-Ittihad have signed French-born Algerian international midfielder Houssem Aouar on a four-year contract.

Aouar joins from Roma, where he scored four goals in 16 appearances last season.

The 26-year-old midfielder previously played for hometown club Lyon in France’s Ligue 1, scoring 30 goals in seven seasons.

The signing ceremony took place at the team’s training camp in Alicante, Spain on Tuesday.

The event was officiated by the club’s CEO, Domingos Oliveira, and witnessed by sporting director Ramon Planes, following Aouar’s successful medical examination this morning.

Domingos Oliveira expressed his warm welcome to Aouar, noting that this move marks a significant new chapter in Aouar’s career. He emphasized that Aouar will contribute significantly alongside his teammates to achieving the high standards and results anticipated by the club’s fans and supporters.

Oliveira highlighted that Aouar’s signing aligns with the team’s technical requirements for a player possessing specific qualities that enhance the squad. This strategy is based on the technical needs identified by the sports committee and reviewed by the coach.

Houssem Aouar shared his enthusiasm about joining Al-Ittihad Club, recognizing its rich history, passionate fan base, distinguished players, and experienced coaching staff. He is motivated to deliver his best performance to represent the club and bring joy to its supporters.